Most animals are parasites. So why are the majority of animal biologists not parasitologists? I think we put students off. Like fine wine, appreciation takes time. But learning about wine is fun from the word go, while we usually strangle the diverse natural history of our beasties with taxonomic jargon. Current introductory textbooks may be fine once you have got students for the long haul. But how to get them to that stage?
The answer: give them Bernard Matthews. The taxonomic details are sketched in a single chapter while the rest of the book takes a Trials of Life -type approach to the problems parasites and their hosts solve. Until David Attenborough produces the long overdue Life of Parasites , Matthews is probably our best hope of attracting students.
Andrew Read is professor of natural history, University of Edinburgh.
An Introduction to Parasitology. First Edition
Author - Bernard E. Matthews
ISBN - £30.00 and £10.95
Publisher - Cambridge University Press
Price - £30.00 and £10.95
Pages - 192